costs depend on your location
How much is that kitchen remodel going to cost you? That all depends on your address.
Labor costs, fuel costs and even product costs can vary
by region -- sometimes widely. So homeowners
in different parts of the country can hire
similar professionals to complete essentially
the same remodeling project and see very different
Want to put a new roof on your
home? In the Pacific region (California, Oregon,
Washington, Hawaii and Alaska), a top-of-the-line
treatment will average roughly $28,884, according
to Remodeling magazine's 2006 Cost vs. Value
report. But in the West South Central region
(Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Arkansas),
the same project averages $19,759. The national
average for the job is $24,693.
How about adding a master suite?
In that same Texas-Oklahoma-Louisiana-Arkansas
area, you'll pay an average of $84,411, according
to Remodeling. But Pacific Coast residents
pay 31 percent more -- with an average cost
of $111,157. The national average is $94,331.
And if you think regional differences are sharp, the divide between urban and rural can be just as marked. Even in the same area of the country, a difference of 50 miles can send your remodeling bill up or down significantly. A big reason for that: differences in the cost of labor.
In the California's Bay Area,
labor costs "are some of the highest
in the U.S.," says Paul Winans, past
president of the National Association of the
Remodeling Industry, and president of Oakland,
Calif.-based Winans Construction Inc. And
those costs are comparable with major metro
areas such as Washington, D.C., and New York,
But drive east 10 miles and
labor costs drop 25 percent to 30 percent,
says Winans. And head into the valley, into
cities such as Stockton, Modesto, and Fresno,
Calif., and labor costs are 50 percent cheaper
than in the San Francisco area, he says.
"The more rural you get, just about anywhere, the less expensive it's going to be," says Winans.
And while the cost of supplies will fluctuate, depending
on the region or area, that's not the major
factor in price differences, he says.
"Lumber will vary regionally,
but not that much," Winans says.
Labor is "the biggest variable."
In the South and the West, "Remodeling
is poised to take off," says Winans.
Both areas have an abundance of tract homes
from the 1960s, '70s and early '80s that are
beginning to age. Not only are systems such
as roofs, water heaters, windows and siding
getting overhauls, but homeowners are also
opting to reconfigure rooms and floor plans
to fit changing tastes and lifestyles.